Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Beautiful Grandma - A Tribute

Today, at 92 years old, my great grandma Georgia Carson passed away.
She is pictured below holding her great, great grandson (my baby). 

Grandma, my Dad, and Roman

 She was an amazing person with tons of quirks that made her so special. 

Every time she wrote me a card, she would sign it, "Love your beautiful Grandma!" Hey, there's no shame in bragging on good genes!

Grandma, Aunt Kim, Mom, Meme, Me & Roman in my belly at my baby shower

As she got older, she always acted like she didn't remember how to play cards and would try to take back a mistake she had made and say, "Well I'll be cotton pickin!" 

She was famous for her lemonade and always had a story to tell. 

She sang her own made up tune while doing every activity.

She loved lottery tickets and would always say, "When we win, I'm gonna buy us a new car!" She was still driving until recently! 

She was the Queen of layering and always had on at least 3 shirts or sweaters (year round). 

She loved dolls and collected many of them throughout the years.

She got married at 15 and was married for almost 77 years. She is survived by her husband, J.T. Carson who is a few years her senior. She has 3 children, 4 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren, and so far has 1 great great grandson. She also has several loving sons and daughter in laws, grandson and granddaughter in laws, nieces and nephews, and other extended family.

She was greatly loved and loved others greatly.

Surrounded by many family members after my High School graduation. She's in the back corner.

In the 2 weeks prior to her heart attack, The Lord gave me many visions of special holidays and times I spent with my Dad's side of the family, using my gift of prophesy to help me appreciate what I have. I knew in my heart that our lives would be changing in some way, although at the time I was unsure how. For quite a few days, I had so much regret in my heart that I hadn't visited her when I was called to, but I know she felt joy in seeing me at her hospital bedside with some silk roses.

Right now, I feel empty. I feel lonely. I feel a little bit less loved in the here-and-now.

I'm calling on Jesus and asking you to pray comfort over my family.

Grandma with Dillon's best friend Daniel at our wedding

Dance with Jesus, my beautiful Grandma! I'll meet you in His presence in no time!

I love you. Always will.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

DIY Fall Centerpiece

It's September, and regardless of the fact that Autumn doesn't officially start until September 23 this year, I consider September 1 the beginning of my Fall season! Therefore, my house needed a little overhaul. 

Prior to creating this centerpiece and table setting, my table was piled high with clean laundry, wrappers, old pamphlets from church, and a bunch of important things we plan to hang on the wall someday. 

It was time to clean up, throw away, and put this table to good use! You see, soon my husband's job situation will change and he will be home with us at night. We will finally be able to sit down to family dinners every night. I'm a full believer in the notion that dinners unify families when they are able to unplug and have old fashioned conversation. 

On to the Fall Centerpiece Tutorial...
I headed to my neighborhood Hobby Lobby and picked up a bunch of Fall decor for 40% off. Christmas is 40% off too and I maaaaay have looked at every single item on display! 

First, I selected some faux flowers for a centerpiece arrangement. The large flowers are separate from the "field brush" and I simply attached the two bouquets with flower tape. 

Next, I bought 2 bags of natural pinecones from the Christmas section (near the cinnamon sticks, if you're a regular shopper). They were selling canisters of pine cones in the Fall decor for double the price, but I'm savvy so you know I can't help but search for the best deal. The outer vase is actually a food canister I had at home. The flowers are in a separate inner vase which is actually meant for 1 or 2 roses and probably wouldn't have supported the heavy arrangement on its own. I nestled the small vase in the canister and dropped the pinecones all around it until there were no gaps and the inner vase was secure. 

This way, I can just remove the flower arrangement after Thanksgiving and change it for a poinsettia bouquet or something else Christmassy! The pinecones will stay in place and with the right bouquet could work for many seasons. 

The faux leaves are from a 95 cent pack at Kroger Marketplace. 

Next I purchased some napkins and plates with this message from Psalm 69:30 printed on them, "I will praise God's Name in song and Glorify Him with Thanksgiving." It's nice to have a visual reminder of the Word laying right there on the table. We pass by it about 100 times per day, so it's a win-win!

Accenting the napkin holder stands 2 bottles of Sparkling Cider in flavors Caramel Apple and Pumpkin Spice. We plan to drink them this weekend after my husband has his last night shift and we are able to start our family dinners! (He's thrilled that I'm making meat loaf - his fave!)

It's still about 98 degrees here in Central Arkansas, but the forecast shows temperatures in the 70's this Friday and Saturday. Then, the temperature shouldn't get past 85 degrees for the rest of the month (and hopefully the rest of the year)! Interestingly, The Weather Channel shows all of the record highs and record lows for Arkansas in the month of September (High: 103, Low: 34!!) Maybe you find that to be as interesting as I do! It's already snowing in Calgary, Canada this week (up to 8 inches in some places!) with freezing temps predicted in the Northern U.S. as well. 

I am so excited! The Fall weather is my favorite and all of my favorite things happen between September and New Years. Therefore, I am super pumped to be heading into the next few months. 

I'm so over summer and am welcoming Fall with open arms! Tell me some of the fun Fall activities you enjoy in the comments!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Transitioning a Toddler from Crib to Bed

This Labor Day weekend, we traveled to Texas for my husband to attend the Americans For Prosperity convention, and for Roman and me to hang out with some of Dillon's cousins. It was an amazing time of family fellowship and I'm convinced that one of our cousins, Lauren, and I were separated at birth. There was never a dull moment!

Within an hour of arriving at her house, my boy had jumped into a wash tub in the back yard (designated for the dogs to drink and cool off) fully clothed and was just having the time of his life. He went bowling for the first time, mastered the stairs, went to the lake and rode on a pontoon, met dozens of family members for the first time, and had several cousin-fights with a couple of Lauren's 5 children (all over toys!). If you notice the little Australian Shepherd puppy in the background, that's 6 week old Cowboy! I may have told my husband 100 times that we needed one just like him! He's basically our dream dog.

My beautiful boy (and the cutest puppy ever in the background!)

He also figured out how to escape from the Pack n Play. We came home on Monday, and on Tuesday morning Roman climbed out of his crib, grabbed a toy dump truck, and ran around the corner saying, "Hey Daddy!" He was perfectly fine, totally unharmed, but I cried! What if he had fallen and broken something? As if saying "what if" ever helped after the fact.  He's such a big boy. He's not my baby anymore! He's 20 1/2 months old and will be 2 in December!

So we converted his crib into a toddler daybed, stuffed a large pool noodle under the fitted sheet to prevent rolling over the edge, and had many fun talks about his big boy bed!

That night, after many hours of playing, we gave him a bath and put on a pair of brand new Scooby Doo pajamas (Thanks $5 clearance at Walmart!). I started diffusing Lavender essential oil in his room 30 minutes prior to bedtime. We tucked him in and by lamplight read Dr. Seuss ABC board book. He loved it. Then we said our prayers, which included a very sincere prayer on my part for this to be a good experience! His cute little voice echoed, "Amen!" and we kissed him goodnight!

These were taken a few days later - Elmo PJ's this time.

I apologize for the back of my hair - yikes!

Ten minutes later, little feet patted into my kitchen and a chubby face peeked around my big arm chair. The most mischievous grin broke out on that chubby face and I chased him back to bed. I tucked him in. I told him he was sleepy. I kissed him goodnight.

Thirteen minutes later, a repeat of the above happened. Daddy's turn to put him back to bed.

And that was it.

I checked on him later to find him laying on top of his quilt in the most infantile position with his little diapered booty sticking up in the air. He's still my baby in those moments.

I snuck back in much later and put my body pillow on the floor at his bedside just in case he fell out of bed and then I closed the door to ensure he wasn't wandering the house at night. His room shares a wall with our bedroom, so we know we can hear every sound he makes even without a monitor.

You know what? He slept all night. Don't hate me. I know so many fantastic parents with great kids who took ages to transition into the toddler bed. The next morning at 7:30 I heard a little voice so I went into his room and found him still in bed! He had pulled the body pillow into bed with him, but otherwise everything looked like it was in its place. He was even back under the quilt!

I give all the glory to God for answered prayers!

  1. We followed a routine, 
  2. Made the experience fun for Roman, 
  3. Utilized the medicinal properties of Lavender essential oils, 
  4. And in the end all I could do was pray for God to make this a positive experience.

The next morning we rewarded Roman with TONS of praise, a big cup of milk, and an episode of Scooby Doo first thing.

**Update: A few days have passed and the transition is still going great! Even naps have been pretty good as well! Saturday morning I woke up at 7:45 to check on him and found him sitting in my bedroom floor, quietly playing with blankets. We decided to do a deep cleaning and put up anything potentially harmful from our room (think: picture frames we never hung) so he could come get us if he was upset.